Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, on Wednesday requested the city’s six casino operators to boost their corporate policies in order to promote more local workers.
The comments were made during a meeting with senior representatives of the six gaming concessionaires.
Macau’s Federation of Trade Unions – which normally enjoys cordial relations with the Macau government – was this week quoted saying local casino workers are dissatisfied with promotion policies by the city’s casino operators. The federation is one of several local labour groups with casino worker membership that plan to take to the streets in separate rallies on May 1. In Macau the day is known as Labour Day and has become associated in recent years with street protests on a range of social issues.
Attendees at Wednesday’s meeting between casino employers and local officials included, among others (pictured clockwise from far left): Angela Leong On Kei, executive director of SJM Holdings Ltd; Ted Chan Ying Tat, chief operating officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd; Ben Toh Hup Hock, executive vice president of Sands China Ltd; Trevor Martin, director of human resources and administration of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; Ian Coughlan, executive director of Wynn Macau Ltd; and Grant Bowie, chief executive of MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Manuel Joaquim das Neves, the head of the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also attended the meeting.
During the event, Mr Leong said the Macau government “placed great importance [on] the workers’ career[s]…, such as the opportunities for upward and horizontal mobility,” according to a government statement.
He added this would be “one of the factors to consider in the mid-term review [of] the industry”.
The review is scheduled to take place between 2015 and 2016. It aims “to get a closer look” at the performance of the holders of the six current casino concessions, according to the government statement. Those rights expire on various dates between 2020 and 2022.
The statement added that the representatives of the gaming operators said they were already boosting training opportunities. In addition, the firms would “provide more opportunities for workers” following the completion of their new casino resort projects in Cotai.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Leong further stated “he believed the operators would strive to build a solid foundation in the industry”, even though the sector is currently undergoing “a period of consolidation”. He added the government expected casino firms to “provide more on-the-job training to workers as a preparation for developing more non-gaming elements”.
The government’s Labour Affairs Bureau and the Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Centre would be open to provide “full support” to training of casino workers for higher positions, Mr Leong stated.
The Macau administration would also “continue to keep in close touch with the labour associations” to better grasp the working conditions in the gaming sector, Mr Leong said, quoted by the statement.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China